GLO With The Flow (Christian Herald)
Last modified: 20 Jul 2000
Source: Christian Herald
Author: Russ Bravo
Date: 20 Jul 2000
If you're looking for physical evidence of the distance Delirious? have travelled in the four years since they went full-time in the music business, their new offices on an industrial estate near Arundel in West Sussex give some indication.
The new Furious Records HQ is cool without being self-consciously arty, trendy yet short of showing off. There's also acres of space, and what seems to be a relaxed atmosphere.
And bass man Jon Thatcher is equally open and at ease with himself as we talk to a backdrop of tracks from the new album Glo, thrumming in the background. The band had just returned from their first gig in France, a Pentecost 2000 celebration where the crowd was clearly enchant with the d:boys, and especially the King of Fools material. They even knew the words in French and English.
So what's Glo all about, then? A 'worship songs' album, complete with songbook? Bit of a backwards step, isn't it?
"Glo is short for 'glorious', and it's about being a light in the dark," explains Jon. "We've had some of these songs sitting around for some time, but they didn't quite fit with what we were doing at the time. They flowed very easily, and the melodies and lyrics are very strong, but it's certainly not a straightforward album."
Clearly not -- at the time we spoke there were tracks that were 11 minutes long, leading to speculation that it might turn out to be a double album ("we've got 95 minutes worth of stuff"). Other tracks featured the monks from Abbeysford, bagpipes and a black gospel choir led by David Grant.
Martin Smith has explained Glo thus: "We'd been talking about doing a follow-on project in the vein of 'Cutting Edge', yet knowing we couldn't turn back musically. But we wanted to inspire and encourage a whole generation of young people who'd been singing History Maker, Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble? and songs like that. We wanted to write songs people could sing in church again." And new songs Investigate and My Glorious have already been tried out at their own church.
"We're very excited about it," continues Jon. "We recorded a lot of it live which really helped captured the spirit of it. We're playing off each other to such an extent that one of our producers Chaz Zwicky -- who isn't a Christian -- really picked up on it.
"I could happily give Glo to my next door neighbour to listen to. If a song sounds good, and makes them feel good, that's a great start."
Having been the focus of such expectation and support, Delirious? are acutely conscious of accusations of "selling out" -- either getting flak for allegedly 'playing down' their faith in some secular media situations, and releasing songs where the message is not explicit, or from the other angle, getting criticism (as they may anticipate with Glo) for 'playing safe' and producing music for 'the Christian ghetto'.
Jon is philosophical. "The nature of being a pioneer is being misunderstood. That doesn't scare us. We're learning all the time and we're trying to do the best we can with what we've been given. We're constantly checking out hearts and why we're doing what we're doing. We've had prophetic words spoken over us which have identified with the direction we're moving in."
And progression is the name of the game. The band have come a long way in four years full-time, but they're far from complacent, as Jon underlines.
"When you're on a journey, you are always looking forward. We're grateful for where we are but we're not content. We've had four Top 20 hits but we're not satisfied -- we're not stopping."
The accomplishments, on a human level, are considerable: the chart hits, hundreds of thousands of albums sold, hugely popular tours, exposure on TV and radio. But on a spiritual level, there are much more significant things: the hope and truth the music is sowing into young lives, and the quiet influence the band and their management have behind the scenes in the mainstream pop world.
Delirious?, as Jon points out, are a bit of a puzzle to the music industry. "We don't really fit on Top of the Pops, and we don't play to the power of the music press. We came in by the back door and they don't really know what to make of us. The charts aren't the be all and end all for me -- they don't excite me as much as they did when I was 12."
So where to now? The band play Stoneleigh and Soul Survivor shortly, and are finalising plans for an autumn UK tour. And studio slots are already booked for recording a new mainstream follow-up to Mezzamorphis.
Plus Furious Records is to spread its wings under the direction of Jonathan Brown, looking to encourage other bands in Delirious? wake.
The vision remains fresh: "We want to be for the Church -- and the Church is for the world. If it's Gospel, it's for everyone. And if it's good music, people will identify with it. Passion sells, and we believe wholeheartedly everything we're singing about."
And it was the trumpets that brought the walls down.